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So. Ch-ch-changes…

Trinity Front Gate in the sunshine.

Trinity in the sunshine. Not all that common, sadly.

I’ve noted a tendency in myself to be overly mysterious in this blog. It’s the drama ham side of me, which doesn’t get many chances to emerge into the light. So when I said that I would talk a little about the things making my life busy lately, I did mean to. It’s just that I’ve been, well, busy.

About a month and a week ago, I returned to college for the first time in just over 14 years. The initial experience was somewhat akin to taking a point-blank blast in the face from the shotgun of knowledge. In a good way. Trinity’s MSc in Interactive Digital Media is nothing if not comprehensive. Over the course of one year, students are expected to absorb as many elements of media theory and production as their tiny minds can cope with. From the practicality of programming, web authoring or 3D modelling to the theoretical realms of cultural and critical theory or interactive narratives, it’s all covered here, and the result is a 9-to-5 (or more) immersion in all aspects of the modern media world.

At this early stage, I’m pleased to say that it’s been not only fascinating but even fun at times. I had a grounding in some fields from previous educational forays (cultural and critical theory, in particular) and from general interest and reading (game design and development, for example), and my liking for puzzling out solutions has helped me to scramble through the early weeks of courses where I was going in more or less blind (programming and 3D modelling). Of course, it helped that the rest of the students have proven to be not only impressively able but also a very friendly bunch.

Almost as interesting, at least to me, is how the course is structured. Each module stands alone, and even the individual strands within those modules are clearly delineated. Even so, there are names and references that crop up across strands, and it’s not hard to see that somewhere further down the line, all of this is going to start fitting together. Maybe not in time for our individual research papers (due early next year), but certainly in time for the group projects that take the place of our final dissertations.

If I may be allowed another metaphor (and I am, because metaphors are cool now), we’re in the “wax-on, wax-off” stage of the Karate Kid. Learning all the basic moves that we’ll string together into massively impressive multimedia projects somewhere further down the line. That’s my theory as to what the idea behind the course is anyway, and right at the moment I feel rather optimistic about getting there.

For now though, I have a reading week without classes and a long list of assignments to get back to. Which reminds me that I’ve probably spent way too long writing this…

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  1. November 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Ciaran, this is awesome! Fascinating indeed, and so valuable — you’ll emerge from this with a very broad and marketable skill set, I think. Cheers! Glad to hear you’re enjoying yourself — you do sound happy. Well deserved. 🙂

    • November 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks – I hope to keep updating with pieces on the individual modules, so feel free to keep my feet to the fire on that. In the meantime though, back to the assignments…

      • June 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        Hi Ciaran,
        I was doing some research about this course and stumbled across your blog. I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about the course as I’m considering doing it myself. My main worry is the amount of programming/coding involved as I’m from a video production background. Any helpful insights would be appreciated.
        Thanks,
        Jeff

  2. June 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Jeff,

    I think you’d be in fine shape to take on the course. There’s usually a mix of programmers and creative types in the intake, but this year there weren’t any programmers among us at all. The course itself provides a good introduction to the topics covered (Javascript, Python and SQL this year, but that might change), and we’re encouraged to help one another. Feel free to ask any other questions you need to.

    • June 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the reply Ciaran. The fact that most people started off with little knowledge of the coding side of things gives me some encouragement. Overall what was the workload like? Manageable, or was it a full 9-5, Monday to Friday sort of thing? I would hope to work part time to pay the bills but I wonder if this would be possible with assignments, exams, thesis etc. Has anyone from the class explored the job market yet? I know the course isn’t finished completely but I’m wondering what the outlook is for those who make it through.
      Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
      Jeff

      • June 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm

        Hi Jeff,

        It’s certainly possible to work part time during the course, but not to a great degree. The more time spent at work, the less you’re going to have for your course, and classes alone take up half the day, five days a week. While some weeks won’t have too much extra work, at some times of the year the work will pile up quickly. Hope that doesn’t dishearten you too much.

        As for job prospects, I can’t speak to that directly at the moment, but former students seem to be pretty active, and you’ll have plenty of chances to make connections within the class and outside over the course of the year. Like a lot of other things, the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out. (Sorry if that sounds a little platitudinous.)

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